Jinder Mahal vs. Neville: Who Is WWE’s Best Turnaround Story in 2017?

At this time last year, Jinder Mahal didn't even work for WWE. He was fresh off competing in a six-man tag team match held in a kiddie park called Fun Station USA. Neville was out of action, with a fractured ankle leaving The Man That Gravity Forgot grounded for months.

Today, Mahal is the WWE champion and is set to headline the Money in the Bank pay-per-view in June against Randy Orton. Neville is the longest-reigning cruiserweight champion in the revamped title's short history.

Neville went from midcard purgatory to the best stretch of his career. Mahal shot up from obscurity to the spotlight.

Who has been the best example of a WWE rags-to-riches story? Who has made the biggest, most emphatic leap upward? The answers lies in how much their careers have changed, how they acquired the gold around their waists and what they have done with the added opportunities. 

He was one third of the air-guitar-playing faction of also-rans 3MB. Wins rarely came his way. The only non-Battle Royal pay-per-view match to his name at that point was 3MB's loss to Alberto Del Rio, The Miz and the 51-year-old Brooklyn Brawler in 2012.

Neville, meanwhile, was far more of a midcarder than a bottom feeder.

WWE never consistently showcased him, but he won roughly as often as he lost. At times, he played stepping stone to the likes of Tyler Breeze and Bo Dallas. But he'd also defeat Superstars like Wade Barrett.

It wasn't until his heel turn, when he ambushed Rich Swann at Roadblock: End of the Line in December, that he started charging toward contention.

Before that, though, his record was still strong. He was 15-5 in the 20 bouts before that night, per CageMatch.net. On the other hand, the 20 bouts before Mahal's surprise win in April saw him go 5-14-1.

Neville's combined winning percentage for the past two years has been .642. 

That beats Mahal's number over the two years before his release by a mile. In 2013, The Maharajah boasted a measly .063 winning percentage. The next year, he raised it to .078. Even the Philadelphia 76ers have to cringe at those figures.